What is PRP (Platelets-Rich Plasma) hair treatment? The pros and cons!
Today there are many types of hair loss treatments and variations thereof. Each method with its own advantages and disadvantages. This can cause a lot of confusion and if the confusion wasn't enough already, no person is the same, so what is a good approach for one person is less suitable for another. That is why we aim to inform you with this blog about the '' ins and outs '' of the PRP method.
You can also have a look at our FUT VS. FUE VS. DHI blog. Here all three techniques are discussed and compared given their advantages and disadvantages, and for whom it is suitable.
Start your treatment? See our hair transplant page!
What is a hair transplant / hair implant?
In order to better understand the PRP method and how it differs from a hair transplant, it is best to first look at what a hair transplant entails.
Hair restoration surgery or hair transplant is a type of surgery that extracts (removes) hairs you already have in the form of grafts and implants them in a different place. A graft is a very small piece of living tissue containing healthy hair follicles. The grafts are harvested from the donor area and then implanted in the recipient area (the balding area). This means that you are your own donor. When the transplanted grafts heal up, they are fully incorporated in the recipient area and can from then on produce hair.
What is PRP - Platelet-rich Plasma?
With a PRP treatment (Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment), the body's own PRP is injected into the scalp in areas that suffer from hair loss. This can cause hair density to increase and hair to grow back thicker.
PRP is a platelet-rich plasma solution obtained from blood. This platelet-rich plasma contains a high concentration of growth factors and proteins that stimulate recovery. In the PRP method, the PRP is injected into degenerative tissue, which provides a localized acceleration of the healing process.
To better understand what the PRP method entails, it is helpful to look at what platelets are. When we look at blood, there are mainly three components that are suspended in the blood plasma, namely red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. PRP mainly concerns the platelets. In an injury, platelets collect at the site and hereby stop bleeding and speed up the healing process.
A common application for PRP is in sports-related injuries of the joints and tendons. Doctors realized that the platelet induced healing process could also be artificially mimicked by extracting platelet-rich plasma from the blood and injecting it into degenerative tissue. By applying this principle to patients suffering from hair loss, it is believed that hair loss can be prevented or even reversed. It has been shown in scientific literature that PRP treatments can increase hair density and increase hair thickness. Although it has to be said that the test populations in these studies were small and in order to confirm these findings more research is needed with larger test populations.
How does a PRP treatment work?
PRP treatment can be divided into 3 stages, namely, blood collection, PRP preparation, and injection. The exact method for PRP treatment may vary from clinic to clinic, this mainly relates to the second step "PRP preparation". Below is an example method with explanation.
The first step in the PRP method is blood collection. The healthcare provider will take a small amount of blood from a vein, the amount mainly depends on the degree of hair loss (usually 10-100ml). This only takes a few minutes.
To obtain PRP from blood, the blood is first placed briefly in a centrifuge. The blood is rotated very quickly and the centrifugal forces ensure that the components separate on the basis of density. Because the plasma with platelet solution has a lower density than the red and white blood cells, this layer floats on top and can be drawn up with a syringe.
Subsequently, the plasma with platelet solution is again placed in a centrifuge, but this time longer, where the platelets collect at the bottom of the vessel. Excess plasma is removed and the platelets are redissolved in a smaller volume of plasma resulting in a more concentrated platelet in plasma solution, or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The preparation process takes about half an hour.
The prepared PRP solution is then injected into the scalp in small amounts at the areas of hair loss. The total treatment takes about one hour and is generally not experienced as painful.
For whom is the PRP treatment suitable?
A PRP treatment is suitable for anyone who suffers from hair loss or has thin hair and wants to nourish his / her hair.
Cheaper than a hair transplant
Hair does not need to be shaved
No healing period
No restrictions in your activities
Cons (compared to a hair transplant)
The result is not immediately visible
Multiple treatments needed over time
May cost more than expected after many treatments
PRP hair treatment experiences
Many who have undergone a PRP treatment are very positive about the results. It is often experienced that the hair becomes thicker and fuller, and in some cases hair loss even appears to be reversed. The latter may be due to very thin ('' dying '') hairs becoming thick again. There are many patients who share before and after photos where the results are very promising. To get a better picture of the experiences, see the studies below. From the studies it becomes clear that those who experience the best results have a higher concentration of platelets in their blood.
Does a PRP hair treatment work?
The best way to find out if a PRP treatment works is to look at the scientific literature. Despite the promising results obtained from the PRP studies, the scale is still too small and more research is needed to provide a 100% concrete answer.
In a 2014 study, it was observed that injecting 2-3 ml of PRP into the scalp every other week over a period of 3 months resulted in the mean number of follicles increasing from 71 to 91 per square cm. In this study, the population consisted of 11 subjects suffering from androgenic alopecia (natural hair loss). The population is too small to serve as strong evidence.
In a 2015 study, it was observed that every other week injections of PRP over a period of 3 months in all 10 subjects resulted in an increase in the number of follicles, thickness of the hair, and the strength of the hair roots. The population is too small to serve as strong evidence.
In a 2019 study consisting of 40 subjects, two groups were created in which one group received minoxidil (Rogaine) and the other group received PRP injections. Here it was observed that the PRP injections group scored significantly better against hair loss than the minoxidil (Rogaine) group. An interesting observation was that the own amount of platelets and thus the final concentration of PRP had an influence on the effectiveness of the treatment. This may mean that those with a higher platelet concentration are the ones who experience the most positive results.
How much does a PRP hair treatment cost?
The costs for a PRP treatment differ depending on where it is done. In Turkey, such a treatment often costs between 80-300 euros, in the Netherlands, a PRP treatment costs between 300-650 euros and in Belgium between 150-400 euros. Often there are packages available that greatly reduce the average price for a treatment.
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Would you like more information about hair transplants, the pros and cons of all treatments, how to start your medical journey and how to save money with our handy tips? See our hair transplant page, and perhaps we can help you too! #Mediqle